Kid One recently started his First Real Job at a Palo Alto Tech Company, and on the occasion of meeting him for lunch for the first time, I wanted it to be good. And I didn’t really know Palo Alto so wanted to choose a place in advance. Downtown is chock-full of restaurants and I could see us wasting most of his hour walking around and deciding. Et alors, through the magic of Google Maps, I walked around alone online the night before. Resposado called out to me because we all like Mexican food and I can’t resist queso fundido. I figured it would be fine, maybe even pretty good. I wasn’t counting on it being fabulous.
And fabulous it was, starting with the decor. The best adjective I have to really describe the high-ceilinged, open space is “handsome.” Exposed beams, a medium-hued compass blue wall, imposing grey concrete floors, gleaming brown wooden tables, large, bright, lively artworks … it’s artistic without being foofy. It says “power lunch.” There’s a second floor balcony/bar that’s probably a great happy hour networking spot, but it’s empty during the day and served as a great spot to sneak a shot of my family:
Now the main event: the food. Every dish we tried truly burst with flavor – I’m getting hungry just remembering. Limes, peppers, radishes, shitake mushrooms . . . the Resposado chef were really creative in interpreting California/Mexican dishes in really lively way. Here’s the guacamole: the avocados are on the chunky side and garnered some heat from serrano chilis and some saltiness from the queso fresco on top. It’s also quite pretty, served with red, blue, and yellow tortilla chips and assortment of pico de gallo and red and green salsas.
I thought adding shitake mushrooms to queso fundido sounded a bit odd, but they took the place of what I think of as the traditional chorizo. Plenty of umami. Poblanos for heat. Plus, these little Staub crocks the dish is served in are kind of to die for. Sturdy, cast iron, a sweet little size, and it actually did the impossible task of keeping the dish melty while we dug in.
LL was more than happy with the street tacos – he even had a bit of a swoon over the tenderness of the meats. He was served one each: chicken with a mild green salsa, zesty carnitas, fish with a fresh mango salsa, and carne asada with rich guajillo salsa. Four small tacos is quite a bit of food. I had to trust his swoon – next time, perhaps, I’ll order this?
Kid One opted for the “quesadillas nortenas.” The grilled shrimp were a surprise; he missed that bit on the menu description. Shellfish isn’t really his thing, but he graciously ate his mistake and enjoyed it anyway. The queso añejo crumbled on the refried beans with chunks of avocado was a nice touch and a perfect example of thoughtfully enhancing flavors whenever possible.
Here is my meal – the fantastical, eye-opening combination of dates stuffed with chorizo and Manchego cheese then wrapped in a think slice of bacon and cooked. This was DIVINE. The peppery radish and nutty arugula salad was perfect with the rich-sweet-salty date nuggets. I can’t tell you how much I loved this . . . definitely a dish to have again.
So check this place out next time you are in or neat Palo Alto – or anywhere in the Bay Area. Resposado is worth it.